Friday, October 31, 2008

Welcome to My Nightmare

Something's been off this Halloween. I didn't feel up to decorating or being creative or even participating in this exciting e-mail I just received:

Agent Name: Mr. Ken Smith
Tel:+44 703 198
+44 703 198 8711
Email: ( )

This is
to inform you that you
have been
selected for a cash prize of
#1,000,000 (British Pounds) held
on the
20th of October 2008 in
London Uk.

Fill the below:

1. Name:
2. Address
Country of Residence:
4. Telephone

Yeah, right. Welcome to my nightmare instead. Ernest and I were searching out great halloweenish songs, and of course Alice Cooper's 1975 masterpiece came up. Ernest likes Devil's Food with the Vinnie the P I'm playing through the whole things on iTunes.

...And then I realized what's wrong....what's making me feel so discomfited...

tr.v. dis·com·fit·ed, dis·com·fit·ing, dis·com·fits
1. To make uneasy or perplexed; disconcert.

I didn't see Alice Cooper this year. THAT'S WHAT'S WRONG. So here's a little Alice, to make me feel better.

And I'm also thinking back to October 30th of last year when Bruce rose out of a coffin. But I'm coughing and sneezing and too tired to find a good Bruce video on YouTube.

"Happy" Halloween seems the wrong thing to say....So does Elvira's "unpleasant dreams..." so I'll just say Ah-CHOO and goodnight.

Live Halloween Blogging #3

In this picture... Ernest reminds me of Warren Zevon:

And Ernest looks a lot like his dad, too.

Hopefully he will be a great musician, but won't be an alcoholic who dies of lung cancer. And if the genetic gods are willing, won't lose his hair too early.

Here's a little Werewolves of London for your Halloween evening pleasure. I feel a little like Stevie Wayne. Is the fog rolling in?

Live Halloween Blogging Post #2

All hail Mr. Thomas, the BEE.

I'm just a bit misty now because Ernest wore the bee costume when he was LITTLE. And now he is the BIG guy kneeling next to his cousin.

Here's Ernest in the bee suit, way back in the 1998's.
Yes, it was a little oversized back then. And the knee-length shorts? Size four on a two year old...because he was "STURDY." But he stretched!

Live Halloween Blogging Post #1

6:22 p.m., Pacific Whachahoosit Time (please, do we set the clocks back soon because it is eerily dark in the morning???). It WAS 6:22 before I tried to upload the pictures which took a while, and then I lost something and had to regroup. Live blogging is not for me. I've got a massive internal edit function.

So... some time later..

The doorbell rang, and I found Tolouse-Lautrec at the door.

Truthfully, it was my nephew McQueen on his knees without the shoes. I reposed him with the shoes for greater theatrical effect. Because I'm that way.

McQueen and Ernest left for the haunted house. With a cell phone, just in case. But they are brave, unlike me. And McQueen's among his own kind (clowns).

Here are the intrepid adventurers.

Trick or treaters are slow right now. One group at 5:45, the next didn't appear until 6:15. Ernest is hoping for leftover candy because I bought a lot of chocolate.

OK, I've finally finished this (after a pizza break) at 6:35. No new trick or treaters.


Ernest is home.

OH OH OH Mr. Thomas is approaching our house. Post over. Camera ready!


Math Skills Pay Off

Ernest won the $100 "guess how many skulls are in the jar" contest at his orthodontists office!

There were a bunch of plastic skulls mixed in with a lot of candy, and the winner had to come closest to the correct number of skulls. Ernest said: "I used my math skills" to estimate the number. I suppose pi was involved somewhere.

He's pretty happy. I wonder what he will do with the $100? A video game? A sword? A giant Lego? Or just stash it away in his secret place?

If you won $100 today, what would you do? I'd go out to dinner!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Truth in Advertising

I took the day off work today to drive Ernest and 3 friends on a CJSF field trip. (Taking a day off is not a problem, but getting coverage for recess and lunch duty is. Thanks to my compatriots who filled in!) The advisor says she has 61 members -- the most ever!

We took a nice 1 hour 40 minute drive (according to Google Maps) which ended up being 2 hours due to an accident. Then we got on a very cool old train. This looks like fun, doesn't it? Perhaps the "2007" should have tipped me off. What year is it now?
Jolly Jumps - flat. Carousel - not running, although some strong young middle-school males pushed it (backwards was the only way it would go). Haunted Hay Maze - non-existent. Arts & Crafts booths - closed. BBQ sandwiches and other goodies -- closed.

Now to be fair, the ad does say "weekends" but you would think with a train full of 300 school children from various schools, they would have had something else open besides the pumpkin patch.

Then there was the 40 minute train ride back to the station, eating lunch in 90 degree weather, and then the ride home. We just had to stop for smoothies.

Thankfully my carload of boys was very self-entertaining, both ways. Perhaps a few too many Jelly Bellies were consumed at 7:30 in the morning, but I was not responsible for that! Several vicious Snakes and Ladders matches occurred in the back seat. Parents rest assured, all wrestling occurred within the confines of their seat belts.

Ernest did fall asleep on the couch after we got home.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Sunday's Antidote

So on my last night of carpooling, as an antidote to last night's Zac and the Efronettes, I needed a dose of something masculine. The solution? A little Javier Bardem, courtesy of Vicky Christina Barcelona. And here's a little Javier for the rest of you. Pleasant dreams.

Saturday Night Whatever

As I was approaching last night's carpool destination (a Halloween performance at the zoo), I had an epiphany. I didn't want to hang around there another night, I wanted to go to the movies. So after I dropped off Ernest and 3 girls (one of them had braided Ernest's hair on the way there -- he was very patient), I called home and had Frank read the movie ads to me.

It was too late for me to see Burn After Reading or Rachel at the Wedding. So I settled on....

High School Musical 3. I know, I know. I'm too old for that kind of thing. But you know I am a sucker for musicals. And Zac Ephron is cute in an Oedipal kind of way. The most interesting thing about the movie was the audience. Full of screamers. And these weren't teenyboppers. Oh no, these were grown young women screaming their heads off over Zac. Especially when he took his shirt off and they saw his naked back.

Afterwards I had dinner, then waited for ages until the kids were done and de-costumed. The carpool girls were very talkative, and as I dropped them off they thanked me for not getting sick of them.

That was my evening. Tonight is the last of the 3 carpool nights...I think I can make it on time to Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist, The Secret Life of Bees, or Vicky Christina Barcelona.

What did you do on your hot Saturday night? I know Blackbird and Cheri ate something wonderful.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

A Day in the Country

Yesterday was a nice day. The Handy Husband and I went to a local festival. Here are Room 9's scarecrows. They were up for auction. The bids on most of the scarecrows weren't too high due to the competition. Room 2's scarecrow was up to $300 because it was wearing an authentic Olympic Volleyball jersey donated by the gold medalist. (His daughter is in that classroom.)

We wandered through the arts and crafts booths, and I tried not to buy anything. I was successful. The HH bought a shirt.

A tea seller had modified her Mini. Steam came out of the spout at regular intervals. I hope she takes the spout off when she drives it.

While we were out, Frank and Ernest played World of Warcraft. I actually like that, because Frank emerges from his cave and comes to our family room where the signal is stronger.

Ernest went to a sleepover birthday party at 5:00. Frank joined us for Chinese food (mmmmm, garlic prawns, beef chow mein, and kun pao chicken) and the movie "W." Josh Brolin gave an incredible performance as Bushy.

Today, the HH had to go to work. On a Sunday! I know, it's awful. But they are producing a new microscope and he's got to do it. Frank's playing WoW again. I don't know when Ernest will be back.

This is what I have to look forward to: folding the 4 loads (white, black, blue and red) of laundry:
Have a lovely afternoon.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

The Rose Sisterhood

Last night I drove to the big town to have dinner with some old long-time Friends. We're a group of women who once worked together at an insurance company, way back in the 80s. I'm the newbie in the bunch, since I was the last to join the company in 1985!

Since then, the company closed and we ended up in different places, sometimes at the same place. We've managed all these years to get together on a semi-regular basis. We started calling ourselves the Rose Sisterhood because 1) we always eat at Rose Cafe and 2) we had recently read Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood as part of the Smalltown Mom book club (which consisted of me passing books around the office).

Last night's dinner was the first in many months, as one of our group just finished chemo for breast cancer and she was finally feeling well enough to go out. "V" is supermom and superfriend. She has the biggest heart and I think she keeps us all together. We reflected on seeing each other's children born, and now the children are grown! Time flies.

We decided on a new venue for our next dinner. "A" and her husband recently bought a neighborhood bar. So we're going to go there next (but A doesn't know it yet!).

Here's to my Rose Sisters!

Friday, October 17, 2008

The No One Tagged Me Eleven Things Meme

(Does it have a name? This about covers it.)

I saw this at Blackbird's and at Barbra's.

11 things about me.

1. Clothes Shop: Coldwater Creek
2. Furniture Shop: Neuvie (although it was Danica House back in the days when we bought the furniture)
3. Sweet: Today it was chocolate chip cookies
4. City: New York.
5. Drink: non-alcoholic -Perrier. Alcoholic - red wine
6. Music: Whatever the kids are listening to.
7. TV Series: Currently watching Pushing Daisies on DVD.
8. Film: I'm eager for "Twilight."
9. Workout: Huh, what's that? I'm totally lazy these days.
10. Pastries: Apricot/Cream Cheese Danish
11. Coffee: Black

Who's next?

Thursday, October 16, 2008


This came in the mail for the Handy Husband today. Sorry I opened it, honey, but I couldn't imagine what John McCain would be sending you. McCain is DESPERATE, sending this "Emergency Notice" to a household of registered Democrats:

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Today's Discoveries

Things I learned today:

Our cat can balance things on her head.
(See Chuck for the champion of balancing.)
UPDATE: Ernest calls this Cat Jenga.

It appears we have termites. The inspector is coming on Friday.

There are 110 holds for the new Michael Connelly book.

I tried those darn reading glasses again.
I'm TRYING to smile here but my eyes are watering.
Things are easier to read, though.

Frank can no longer copy the WoW patches to Ernest's storage device (his iPod). Now Ernest has to download them himself. (Ernest used to carry WoW around on the iPod so he could use it on any computer he found free, but now I think he has to stick to one computer as WoW will no longer allow itself to be copied.) It took 15 hours for Frank to download the new patch.

Do I care about this? No.

But it was a discovery, and has consumed the two of them since 5:00 p.m.



Monday, October 13, 2008

Typically Atypical

This day was a combination of the typical and the not. Typical is in regular font, atypical is in italics

The Handy Husband's alarm rang at six

I had slept the whole night through. I tried to sleep through the number of times he hit the snooze button, and his shower

I crawled out of bed at 6:45, and made Ernest's lunch

I also made Frank a sandwich, because I am nice.

It was freaking cold last night. That will soon become typical.

Why didn't our heater go on?

I asked the HH if he could check the pilot light. It doesn't have a pilot light, you just have to change the batteries in the thermostat... But the batteries still work, said I. They don't have enough power...(a pause while he tinkers around)...OK, it does have a pilot light. I just have to click this piezo[jargon jargon jargon]... The piezo[thingy] isn't working. He got a match. Voila, heat. (Normally, he would have been gone already. But he had a dentist's appointment.)

I looked at the stuff on Google Reader. Gaaaahhhh, I forgot I signed up for Mrs. G's typical day.

Ernest petted the cat. It's his calming, meditative time.

Ernest, time to get ready.

Taking sax #5 to school.

These buttons were very important this morning. Seat heaters. Ahhhh...

Time for my breakfast. Really nice leftovers. I usually have cereal or eggs.

Room 8 did not pay attention. Also someone didn't make it to the bathroom in time.

Deja vu all over again.

Room 9 interrupted. Again.

You've heard that before.

When I got home, I wondered where the mail was. Hours later, I realized it was Columbus Day and there would be no mail delivery.

Since I ate leftovers for breakfast, I treated myself to tacos at lunch.

I looked at Google Reader. Gaaahhhh. But you know I always look at YOUR blog first! ; )
I went back to Room 9 to clear up some miscellaneous math, and work on our scarecrows for the Scarecrows on Parade contest next weekend. I'll post pictures when they are done. Ernest and the Handy Husband made some excellent scarecrow skeletons. They are the go-to-guys if you need that kind of stuff.


Ernest started on his homework. OK, confession time. I do allow him to have the TV on while he does his homework. Because he is really good and smart and the homework gets done despite the TV! He is so good now. Will he become evil as a teenager?

As I'm typing this later [live blogging here, wow, aren't I trendy?]. Frank is saying SpongeBob has some dirty jokes in it. Something about Patrick in a hospital gown and SpongeBob with a rubber glove. GGGaaaaaaHHHHH. It's INNUENDO, Frank. If you don't already have a [insert derogatory word here] mind, you won't get it. I guess Frank does.

I went to the store because we were running low on Waffle Crisp, among other non-necessities. I usually shop at a smaller, family owned market. But they do not have Waffle Crisp. I have to go to Albertson's for that. I usually enjoy the drive down the tree-lined highway except at this time of day...driving past the light flickering between the trees has the same effect as a strobe light. i.e. making my head explode!

When I got home, I contemplated the mess in my garage. See anything you want? I have to get rid of all of it.

I had to wash this shirt 3 times to get out a mysterious grease stain. But again a confession, I think leaving the Spray 'n' Wash on too long made its own stain. Finally, after 3 washes it is clean. This is Ernest's "work" shirt, that he wears to Theater Gone Wild at the zoo. MUST...BE...CLEAN!

Also, the cat MUST BE FED!

Then I turned these mudane ingredients (that's leftover london broil in the baggie)...
into a delicious chili .

I had a Mother's Little Helper...

while I sat down to compose this post.

What comes next? I don't know. Frank and Ernest are playing WoW (not together). At least Frank is in the same room with us. The Handy Husband worked late and is on his way home. The chili is ready. It's 7:00. We need to eat SOON. Ernest plans to watch a Brand*New*SpongeBob at 8:00.

The evening is winding down. Have a good night, all. Here's an oldie to send you off.

How to Boil Water

On Saturday Frank emerged from his cave (that's what his friends call it) and hung out in the living room for a while, because his room was too cold. After a summer of heat, it was cold enough yesterday to turn the heaters on. He had lunch and watched a DVD with me.

For lunch he chose Cup Noodles. I had tons of great leftovers in the fridge, Hot Pockets in the freezer, and yet he picked Cup Noodles. He apparently hasn't boiled a lot of water in his life. He chose to do it in the microwave and kept having to blast it an extra minute at a time. He said, "Hey, I only boil things on Bunsen Burners and make noxious fumes." I guess he enjoys his Chem lab, but he has this advice: "Don't smell ammonia." I learned that washing bathroom floors, he learned that in chem lab.

We watched Edward Scissorhands.

And while I was trying to find an Edward Scissorhands video on YouTube, I found this ... (Psssst.... Don't tell Mrs. G. She might get jealous.)

I never did get around to finding the E.S. video.

A Typical Day

OOOOPS. I forgot all about that. And that's typical.

Go read Mrs. G and some of her other peeps while I have my typical day here, and check back with me tonight!

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Lightening Up the Dark Side

We're feeling better here. Thank you friends for your kind thoughts and honesty.

Here's an even bigger disturbance in the Dark Side...

Hello Kitty Vader
more lol celebs!

And my favorite Dark Side, from Eddie and the Cruisers. Your choice: "Eddie," lipsynched by Michael Pare...

Or the real deal, John Cafferty:

You know you live in a small town...

...when the big deal to do on Wednesday night (according to one of Frank's friends) is to eat dinner at Baker's Square because supposedly you get a free slice of pie on Wednesday.

Pie courtesy of Baker's Square -

I can't believe this is what teenagers really want to do. There must be an ulterior motive. Like a place to hang out away from home. Because it's just pie. (I can hear my kids screaming, "No, pie is awesome!")

I remember 30 years ago when that restaurant was a Sambo's and we would go there after football games. The waitresses hated that shift. You know, tips under the upside down glass of water, salt shaker unscrewed. Not by me! I just witnessed it. I hope Frank's friends are better behaved.

PIE UPDATE: He had Oreo pie.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008


Frank seems to be feeling a little better. The new "Star Wars: The Force Unleashed" game helped a lot.

The Handy Husband and I started voting absentee ballot a number of years ago, for several reasons: 1) we don't have to rush home from work to vote, 2) we don't have to worry about being too tired to go to the polls and just saying forget it, and 3), my personal pet peeve, I do not have to endure the wait and humiliation at the polling place while they search for the ballot of my political party. "Hey, can you find one of those * ballots?" they yelled across the room. Because we live in a neighborhood where the others predominate and they somehow conveniently managed to misplace the ballots of my party. And I felt my party affiliation should not have been broadcast to everyone standing behind me. This really happened. I should have reported it. I've voted absentee ever since.

We suggested Frank also vote absentee, because...well, it's just easier in so many ways and he's also just lazy in so many ways. His first ballot came today.

So Frank read his ballot and decided on his votes for certain key races. Some things he knew nothing about. He asked my advice. I said, if you don't know enough about the issue, don't vote on it. I pointed out propositions that might affect him.
  • Passing lanes on the 2-lane highway nearby? A resounding YES!
  • A certain proposition for who can marry whom? He has gay friends. He made his own decision.
  • School boards? I told him what I knew about the candidates.
  • The mayor? She was appointed to city council, not elected. She walks her dog around town. Her identical unlocked car was once parked next to mine and I got into hers by mistake. He stands on street corners, holding signs with his name, and waves at you. He came to our door and gave us chocolate. Yes, we live in that small a town. We're still undecided on the mayor, since we only know trivia.
Am I brainwashing him? No. He asked for my opinion and I gave it. I didn't tell him how to vote.

But I am "darn" glad he is voting. Here's to our future.

Obama 2008.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Daring Gigglers

Yesterday a group of 4 giggling girls (I recognized them -- 7th graders) walked past our house. They stopped about two houses away, and kept looking back. I was on my way to the store and they kept looking at me as I drove past. Then they turned and went back in the direction of our house.

Were they stalking Ernest? We'll never know because he wasn't home.

Thank goodness he's not into that girl thing yet. He just got home from school and is perusing "The Dangerous Book for Boys," which just came from his grandfather. "This is a cool book," he said. But it doesn't seem that dangerous. There's no instructions for tennis ball cannons. (Ah, well, his grandpa already gave him another book that covers explody thingys.)

I have one question. Why is the companion book for girls only Daring? Maybe it covers How to Walk By a Boy's House Without Giggling.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Your Secret Fear

Now that I started down that path, I'm delving into the dark side again.

I want (or need?) to know: What is your secret fear?

Here is my deep dark confession.

For a long time, my secret fear used to be talking to people, both in person and on the phone, because I am an introvert, dammit. I've tested out as an ISFJ, as are (supposedly) Louisa May Alcott, Queen Elizabeth II, and Robin Roberts of GMA (Robin's an introvert? I wouldn't have guessed.) We are the opposite of the ENTP C-E-O types.

The in-person issue I got over after taking an "Effective Presentations" course at my life insurance office, and then teaching Lotus 1-2-3 to fellow employees. The on-the-phone-issue...after I survived frequent discussions with the most "difficult" customer in the world, Ms. Lillian Warner, age 80+, a former lawyer who lived in Burbank, CA... well, if you could survive a phone call with her, you could survive pretty much anything.

Except for the man in Florida who threatened to fly in with a gun but I referred him to my boss, the V-P. Yeah, I called the boss on his cell and interrupted his lunch to tell him he needed to come back to talk to this guy. Chain of command, right? I could deal with Ms. Warner's verbal abuse, but guns??? Another story and far beyond my job description. And KJVK, if you happen to read this, thank you for calming that guy down. You always were the best boss.

So I got over that fear, which may or may not have been life threatening. Outside of every mother's fear over losing her children, I was a somewhat possibly reasonably happy camper for many years until my nighttime panic attack 2 months ago. That night I lay awake, completely agitated, twitching, crazy, and having nightmares about remembering the phone calls from the nurses the nights before my aunt, and subsequently, my mother died. The same scenario in either case: "She's been really agitated. The doctor prescribed morphine." And the next morning... they were gone. I hope peacefully.

Agitated. I am now agitated over dying. What does it feel like? What happens? How awful is it? That you need morphine? The agitation I felt that one night was so bad, I can't even imagine how my poor mother and aunt felt. How bad did it get for them? It has consumed me for many nights as I have rolled around in my peri-menopausal sleepless sweats. It has been so much worse than any other fear I have had before. I am thankful I found the Estroven PM which is stopping the sweats and helping me stay asleep more easily each night and consequently I am not thinking about it as much. The only thing worse thing I could feel would be having my husband or children die before me.

So that's my lovely [sarcastic] nighttime experiences. And why I look so tired every morning.

So tell me, my dearest friends, what is your deepest, darkest fear? I've told you my worst. What is yours? Airplanes? Carnies? Clowns? Spiders? Nothing is insignificant. Here is your chance to tell all, anonymously if need be. Let it out....maybe talking about it will help.

The Dark Side

Normally I don't blog about the darker side of life.

But Frank is really down and depressed because his girlfriend broke up with him. My baby is sad and I can't fix it. I can't kiss the boo-boo and make it better, like I used to.

(Wrong child but you get the idea.)

And then I saw something REALLY disturbing: (please turn it off when the Mr. Clean commercial starts...that's Yahoo for you)

Darth Vader Dances To Thriller @ Yahoo! Video

Six Unremarkable Things About Me

Bunny tagged me for this, so here goes.

1. I hate wearing shoes in the house. Like Bunny, I'll slip them off without untying them first.

2. I have to wash dishes in a specific order...first glasses, then plates, bowls, silverware. Same with laundry...whites first, darks last.

3. My house is messy but I am very organized at work.

4. I like getting Christmas newsletters.

5. I can't whistle. Maybe Ernest can teach me. He didn't used to know how, but somehow he taught himself.

6. I can read upside down. Sometimes I do it just for fun.

Tag, you're it!

Saturday, October 04, 2008

School Daze, or the Freaky Friday

Sometimes Ernest and I compare notes about the things that occur at school. (He's in 7th grade, I'm an aide.) Yesterday was a strange day.

  1. A second grader had diarrhea all over the boy's bathroom. I had to herd the other boys to a different bathroom while poor Mr. Nacho, in mask and gloves, cleaned up the mess.
  2. At recess, two boys got in trouble (by me) for calling each other babies.
  3. Another boy hurt himself during soccer. "I hurt both my head AND my privates," he wailed.
  4. The first grade soccer game was cancelled (by me) for 4 counts of poor sportsmanship and unnecessary roughness.
  5. Room 8 did not pay attention.
  6. Room 9 interrupted.

Life on the playground is never dull.

Ernest, on the other had, had nothing unusual to relate, so we rehashed some old events such as when the P.E. teacher's son tried to hurdle over a metal post and didn't make it and was stuck hanging there by his shorts.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Hey, Katie?

Hey Katie? That shiny jacket? There's something I need to tell you about it.

It's so 90s. See? I wore it first, back in 1990.